Summary: "This sermon looks at the minsitry of John in the light of Jesus."
John 3:22- 35 “ True greatness”
True greatness for some is thrust upon them (Monarchy) for others its pursued & they make a success in a particular field whether sport entertainment business and so on . You’ve received or the accolades, you have a vast portfolio , you have a major influence on others around you and others around can see it and submit to your greatness. (X- factor- Simon Cowell ) Others think true greatness is when you have left an indelible mark on the course of history never to be forgotten for instance in the field of literature - William Shakespeare, science - Charles Darwin, the political arena with Winston Churchill the sphere of Religion and Mother Teresa.
“But the cost of true greatness is humble, selfless, sacrificial service. The Christian who desires to be great and first in the kingdom is the one who is willing to serve in the hard place, the demanding place, the place where he is not appreciated and may even be persecuted. Knowing that time is short and eternity is long, he is willing to spend and be spent. He is willing to work for excellence without becoming proud, to withstand criticism without becoming bitter, to be misjudged without becoming defensive, and to withstand suffering without succumbing to self-pity.” (The MacArthur NT Commentary, MT. 16-23. Chicago: Moody, 1988. 243).
Jesus changes the mindset of true greatness on it head (Luke 9:48) As the disciple argue about who is the greatest amongst them t Jesus explains that “ For he who is least amongst you all, he is the greatest.”
And John the Baptist of course embodies for us that true Christian greatness as he said to his own complexed disciples these words (30) “He must become greater & I must become less.” They wanted to exalt Him and themselves, he wanted to exalt Jesus Christ alone. And that’s why of this man, Jesus would say Matt: 11:11. Among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist (real off contenders of greatness)
1. True greatness is not found in a petty spirit or empire building V22 -26
Context: Jesus and his disciples have come out of Jerusalem and have gone out into the Judean countryside (22) here his disciples began baptising people. This was John the Baptist territory because in a similar location there is John the Baptist & his disciples (23) who were baptising individuals also (23) The location appears to be well suited to baptisms as a good supply of water and a constant flow of people wishing to be baptised (23) . (This wasn’t a believers baptism - but a baptism of repentance) .
(25) An argument breaks out amongst Johns disciples and a Jew about ceremonial washing and in the meantime out of the corner of their eyes they are seeing that Jesus disciples are also baptising people , and Johns disciples are deeply concerned and so they go to see their Rabbi (teacher)John . That man who was withyou on the other side of the Jordan – the one you testified about, he’s baptising & (26) everyone is going to him.